Liberia Develops Policies to Replace Lost Generation of Trees

-- ITTO, FDA, stakeholders carve reforestation, afforestation strategies

A policy document, which aims to brace the National Forestry reform law of 2006, and radically enforce the culture of reforestation and afforestation program in Liberia has been developed by stakeholders at the end of a two-day conference held in Monrovia from November 14- 15, 2019.

According to an FDA release, the policy document engrained with key solutions and recommendations seeks to encourage the replacement of the lost generation of trees, while preventing the unwholesome habits of degradation of the forest.

Basically, the workshop considered a radical approach towards the consolidation of Liberia's reforestation and afforestation polices, and strategies in the wake of the threats, and pressure on the forest in terms of wanton degradation and other illegal habits that continue to undercut the beauty of the forest, which remains a huge and much admired treasure in the sub region.

As a matter of fact, the release said Liberia remains honored by the international community as being the home of the forest given her complaint nature to the practices and policies of conservation.

Currently, she has the Grebo/Krahn, Sapo, and Gola national parks in addition to several reserves and proposed 'protected areas.'

Against this background, global community has dubbed Liberia as "hotspot" for conservation, thus attracting the attention of conservation partners, the world over.

Given its relevance, the workshop brought together high level government officials, including representatives from Lofa, Margibi, Cape Mount, Montserrado, Bomi, Nimba River Gee, Gbarpolu, and Bong counties; and key partners working in the forestry sector.

The participants identified gaps, and other potential threats, and pledged to amalgamate efforts to ensure that this time around, the story of national reforestation and afforestation will be achievable.

Sponsored by the International Tropical and Timber Organization (ITTO), the participants deliberated on key technical issues, including the validation of plantations assessment report, which geared at finding workable solutions to make reforestation and afforestation project legally operational in Liberia.

Dr. Juergen Blaser, ITTO international consultant and Professor for International Forestry and Climate Change, described the workshop as a gateway to the growth and development of Liberia's reforestation and afforestation program.

Blaser then thanked the administration of the FDA for understanding the ITTO program since it was introduced in Liberia in 2007.

He promised ITTO's unrelenting efforts to make sure that the dream that gave birth to the project remains actively alive, while registering his thanks and appreciation to the participants.

FDA Managing Director, C. Mike Doryen, recalled not only the longevity of ITTO, he cherished its measurable role, which he termed as a surest and workable therapy, as far as the dream and national goal of conservation are concerned.

He thanked the county superintendents for their support, and cooperation thereby promoting the work of the FDA at the local level.

Mr. Doryen said that it was time Liberia reassess and reexamine itself to grasp the importance of what nature has endowed its citizens.

He stressed value addition to the country's round logs, noting, "Let us not give up the fight. Let's find ways to invest in our plantations."

He appreciated the dream and courage of the organizers of the workshop and the participants while pledging that FDA will remain firmly at the anchor to ensure that the ITTO program and project become a reality.

It can be recalled that in 2007, the ITTO began assessing the success and failure of Liberia's forest plantations- based on two areas of intervention identified by Chapter 8, Section 8.3 of the Liberia National Forestry Reform Law of 2006, and in compliance with the ITTO Sustainable Tropical Forest Management policy as defined in the ITTO Action Plan, with focus on the identification of suitable sites for reforestation and afforestation activities; and the development of a national strategy to address deforestation and forest restoration and promote multicultural practices that will expand and enrich the national forest endowment.

Unfortunately, the ITTO supported project was negatively influenced by the many problems that befell Liberia after the 14 years of civil crisis: collapse of the economy and social integrity, mass migration and internal displacement of citizens as well as the destruction of infrastructures and natural resources assets, including forests.

The two areas for interventions were identified at the time based on an overall assessment of the priority needs of the forestry sector of Liberia in 2008, as part of the forestry reform process in the period of re-establishment of a functional forestry authority in post-war Liberia.

The aim was to address, within the realm of the two areas of interventions, specific working areas within the wider forestry sector reform process, including the identification of suitable sites for reforestation and afforestation; the vaporization of the existing experience on industrial forest plantations, etc.

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